Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that his office obtained an Agreed Final Judgment and Permanent Injunction against Stop by Mart in San Antonio and its owner, Sung Kyu Choe, to halt the illegal sale of synthetic drugs.
The owner was ordered to pay $50,000 in civil penalties and fees. A permanent injunction was entered against Stop by Mart for violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA). Choe sold synthetic marijuana at Stop by Mart and knowingly deceived consumers by labeling the highly dangerous drug as legal and safe.
“My office will not tolerate synthetic drugs being marketed as safe and legal substances when they present such devastating health risks to users,” Attorney General Paxton said. “My office will do everything within its power to protect Texans from this growing threat.”
In 2015 San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) detectives issued citations to Stop by Mart after a routine Tobacco Alcohol Beverage Commission (TABC) inspection. During a follow-up inspection, and after receiving a tip from a concerned citizen about the sale of illegal substances at Stop By Mart, SAPD detectives discovered over 300 packages of illegal synthetic cannabinoids prepared for sale at Choe’s store. These packages contained no mention of potential harmful side effects and were deceptively labeled as “Lab Certified Legal” and “This product does not contain illegal or banned ingredients.”
In 2016, another TABC inspection of Stop by Mart turned up 177 more packages of synthetic cannabinoids with misleading labels that did not mention the highly dangerous substances that were contained in the packages. San Antonio detectives approached the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division (“CPD”) with the matter in late 2016, and CPD filed a petition against Stop by Mart in March 2017.
Under Texas law, it is a crime to manufacture, deliver, or possess a synthetic cannabinoid, a penalty group 2-A drugs pursuant to Texas Health & Safety Code §§ 481.1031, 481.113, 481.1161. Synthetic drugs have been linked to overdoses in Texas and throughout the United States and can cause paranoia, hallucinations, seizures, psychotic episodes, suicidal thoughts and death. For more information visit the attorney general office’s synthetic drugs section here.